Meet OUR


Administration &
Quality Management

Drain Headshot

Michael Martin Drain, MSIL, OWDS

President & CEO 

Michael Martin Drain, the President and CEO of Step-Up, Inc., has dedicated his career to fostering positive change and empowerment. With a profound background in leadership and advocacy. Previously, he served as
the Career Coaching and Special Projects Director at Ivy Tech Indianapolis, where he honed his skills in education and career development. Notably, he is the co-creator and Project Director of The Elevate: Change Starts Here program, a groundbreaking initiative that focuses on opening educational pathways and
career opportunities for adults and juveniles within the criminal justice system. Michael’s commitment to reintegration and rehabilitation extends to his work as a former Regional Director for the Department of Correction, HIRE program (Hoosier Initiative for Re-Entry). This program’s mission is to help individuals with felony convictions secure employment and vital resources in Indiana. Throughout his career, Michael has excelled as a thought leader, advocate, activist, and community organizer. His accomplishments include establishing employment pipelines with Fortune 500 companies for returning citizens and securing multiple grant awards, leading to project expansions across Indiana. With an M.S. in Leadership & Management and Bachelor’s from IUPUI, Martin Drain is proud to serve Step-Up and the community at large.  

Dennis Wilkinson

Chief Operating Officer

Dennis volunteered with Step-Up from 2005 to until he began working at Step-Up in November 2018.  His background includes Internal Audit, Loss Prevention and Finance.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Indiana State University.  Dennis has been with his partner since 1999 and they were married in 2017.  They both enjoy traveling, warm weather and hanging out with friends.  Dennis is originally from Terre Haute and is one of 6 brothers and 2 sisters.  Dennis is passionate about Step-Up and their mission. 


Simone Roundtree

Chief Financial Officer

Simone joined Step-Up as our Chief Financial Officer in April 2024.  As a native of Indianapolis, Indiana, Simone chose to remain local and further her education by attending IUPUI, where she obtained her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Finance.  Serving in progressive roles, in various organizations, including a local credit union, Indianapolis Public Schools, and local private and charter schools, Simone has over 12 years of experience in the non-profit industry, within the financial services, government, and education sectors.  Simone’s financial career has enabled her to help individuals increase their awareness in financial literacy to reach their personal goals, provide strategic financial management for organizations, and serve as a leader to strengthen organizational health. Simone is excited to join Step-Up and committed to positively impacting the greater community by combining her passion for finance and her purpose for helping others. In her spare time, Simone likes to work out at the gym, watch game shows, spend time with family and friends, and create engaging quotes.


Director of Client Services

Hannah started her tenure at Step-Up, inc. in 2012 as a Non-Medical Case Manager and transitioned to her position as the Director of Client Services in mid-2016. Hannah is a Licensed Social Worker, with a Master of Social Work from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Social Work from Anderson University. Hannah is enthusiastic about her role and brings over 12 years of experience in the field of HIV client services. In her free time, Hannah enjoys watching women’s soccer and spending time outdoors.


Director of Re-Entry Services 

After completing her Bachelor of Science at the University of Dayton in 2015, Abby Abram found her passion for the field of public health while serving a year with AIDS United AmeriCorps. In 2016, she pursued her Master of Public Health at the University of Indianapolis and began her career at Step-Up, Inc. As the Director of Re-Entry Services, Abby is passionate about reducing health disparities and instilling hope in Indiana Department of Correction. Additionally, Abby serves as the President on the Board of Directors for the Indiana Society for Public Health Education and as Adjunct Faculty at her alma mater, the University of Indianapolis.

Conner Tiffany, MPH

Director of Outreach and Prevention  

Conner graduated from Indiana University – Bloomington with a Bachelors degree in Biology in 2018. During the latter end of his time at IU Bloomington, Conner found his passion in public health which influenced him to pursue a Master of Public Health at IUPUI. Conner focused heavily on prevention within health policy and completed his Master of Public Health in 2020. He began his professional career at the Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) in the violence prevention field before transitioning to the HIV/STD field where he led quality improvement and health equity efforts throughout the state. Conner is excited to continue his profession career in prevention at Step Up. In his free time, Conner enjoys a plethora of activities, including running with his father, playing trivia at local venues with his group of friends, and hunkering down to watch a new documentary.

Sherika Sides, MPH

Senior Program Manager 

Sherika has a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Indiana University- Bloomington and a Master’s in Public Health from Indiana State University. Before coming to Step-UP, Sherika worked as the Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator at the Indiana State Department of Health. Sherika’s professional background also includes working as a disease intervention specialist and a community health worker at the Marion County Public Health Department. In her spare time, Sherika enjoys spending time with her family and dog and volunteering at the humane society with her son.

Mara White_2022 Employee of the Year Photo

Mara White

Quality Manager

Mara started her tenure at Step-Up, Inc. in October 2018 as a Case Manager with the Re-Entry Services team and transitioned to her current position in August 2019. Mara is a graduate from Indiana State University where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Mara has extensive experience working in the criminal justice system and re-entry services.

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Marcella Mcmasters

Finance Assistant

Marcella recently joined Step-Up in July of this year. Her background encompasses a degree in Occupational Therapy and studies in business. Having run her own business for eleven years, she brings experience of bookkeeping with an enthusiastic attitude in working with the Step-Up agency and their mission. Marcella enjoys traveling, spending time with her family, and enjoys having with her dog.  

Client Services


Non-Medical Case Manager

Abby recently began working with Step Up, Inc. as a non-medical case manager. Though she is new to the field, she is familiar with the work seeing as her family has worked in this field for many years. Before joining the Step-Up team, Abby was a cosmetologist and receptionist and has always loved working with the public. She is very excited to start this new journey by reaching out to the community. 


Christine easley

Housing Case Manager 

Christine graduated with a Bachelors in Psychology from Indiana State University. Christine is currently attending IUPUI to obtain her Master’s in Social Work as well as becoming LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) . Christine has had 4 years of professional experience working in the field of case management. Christine enjoys self care activities; exercising, yoga, canvas painting, traveling and spending time with friends and family.

“Self care is how you take your power back”


Medical Case Manager & Mental Health Clinician

Dustie Goldsmith, MSW, LCSW, is a Medical Case Manager and Mental Health Clinician for Step Up’s HIV Client Services. Dustie earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Indiana University School of Social Work. Prior to joining the team at Step Up in 2019, Dustie has worked in various mental health roles including with survivors of domestic violence, individuals placed in long term inpatient psychiatric care, children in foster care settings, children placed in juvenile detention centers, and in suicide prevention at an Indianapolis children’s hospital emergency room. In her free time, Dustie enjoys spending time with her husband and kids, reading, and long-distance running.


Housing Team Lead

Emily graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor’s in Social Work in 2017 and with her Master’s in Social Work in 2018. She joined Step Up as in intern in February 2017. In December of 2017, Emily began working for Step Up as a Non-Medical Case Manager and is currently in the position of Housing Team Lead. In her free time, Emily enjoys playing with her dog, baking, and exploring different parks around the city.

Holli Young

Holli Young

Non-Medical Case Manager 

Holli recently began working with Step Up, Inc. as a Non-Medical Case Manager. She originally discovered the organization in 2013 when she completed her internships working with both the Care Coordination and Outreach and Education teams. She went to school for Human Services and graduated as an HS-BCP (Human Services Board Certified Professional), and then went on to study Social Work at Indiana Wesleyan University. She has been working in Medical Billing for the past several years and is excited to get back into the field and start this new journey working within the community. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, camping, hiking, traveling, swimming, and shopping!



Juan Veloz

Non-Medical Case Manager 

Juan is new to the HIV Services team. He began working with us as an Outreach and Testing Coordinator and is ready to embark on his journey as a Non-Medical Case Manager. He has always been passionate about working with the LGBTQ+ and Latino Communities. He is looking forward to helping both communities and providing comprehensive services. In his spare time, Juan enjoys exercising, spending time with friends, and going out dancing.

Jake Dean, MSW

Non-Medical Case Manager 

Jake currently works as an HIV/AIDS Care Coordinator with Step-Up, Inc. Prior to working at Step-Up, he was a BSW intern at Meridian Health Services HIV Care Coordination in Muncie, IN and a volunteer with Muncie Outreach. Jake graduated with his BSW from Ball State University. He lives in the Indianapolis area with his husband and their pets. Jake enjoys spending his free time hiking, visiting state parks, playing board games, and watching Food Network shows.

Trevor Payne

trevor payne, BSW


Trevor joined Step-Up in August 2022 as a Practicum Student and an AmeriCoprs member in October 2022. Trevor will graduate with his bachelor’s in social work in May 2023. Trevor will also complete his minor in Criminal Justice and Certification in Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counseling in May 2023. Trevor will then go on to obtain his MSW following graduation. Trevor enjoys doing Tae Kwon Do as a form of self-care and is currently working at obtaining a black belt. Trevor also enjoys camping, singing, music, writing poetry, fighting for LGBTQIA+ rights (with a focus on transgender rights), advancing knowledge in Suicide Prevention, and driving fast. 




Rasha Darkazli

Non-Medical Case Manager

Rasha Darkazli joined Step-Up as a Non-Medical Case Manager in Jun 2023 , She has more than 8 years of experience in case management working for multiple international and national agencies. Rasha received her first Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Baghdad while her second Bachelor was in Arts in Translation from the University of Almustansiriya. She previously worked at several nonprofit organizations with a focus on Case Management. She also worked as Accountant and Voucher Examiner for USAID. She believes that every person deserves affordable healthcare and a safe place to live, and that equitable access to health & housing are keys to the wellbeing and growth of individuals and communities.

Outreach, Prevention & Testing Services


Aaron Stewart-curet

NHBS Lead Interviewer

Aaron joined Step-Up Inc. in May 2023 as a NHBS Field Interviewer. He has worked in various fields, ranging from cultural advocacy and community-based care and resourcing before arriving to the medical non-profit field. When he is not out in the community working, he enjoys spending his free time with his family and friends and finding new ways to spoil his little fur baby, Zora. Aaron is extremely excited to be a part of the Step-Up, Inc organization and is looking forward to helping it achieve its mission and goals.


Outreach and Testing Coordinator

Ana is an Outreach and Testing Coordinator with Step-Up Inc. since January of 2018. She has a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Marian University. Ana has worked in family services helping a diverse population of families. Ana is excited to also support the Latino community in Indianapolis as she is fluent in Spanish and English. Ana enjoys spending time with friends and family in her free time.


Carmen Canseco

Connections Plus Community Navigator

Carmen has been in the HIV field for 3 years at various local STI/HIV related organizations. She started as a Linkage to Care Navigator, and then quickly moved into a permanent position as a Bilingual Care Coordinator. Most recently, Carmen was a  Bilingual Insurance Enrollment Specialist where she was tasked with enrolling eligible clients onto health insurance plans. Carmen is excited to continue her professional career at Step-Up, Inc., and is looking forward to continuing to provide support for, and make a difference in, the Hispanic community.


Ervin Gainer

Branches Testing Coordinator

Ervin is thrilled to join the Step-Up, Inc. team as a NHBS Field Interviewer. He received his B.S. degree from Ball State University in 2009. Ervin started his career in the STI/HIV field in 2013 at the Bell Flower Clinic (BFC). He has been in the field ever since in various positions at different local STI/HIV related organizations. Being a person living with HIV, he is thankful to be able to continue to use his expertise to provide prevention and education to the community when it comes to STI/HIV awareness and stigma. 

Frankie G

Francisco galicia-jimenez

Outreach and Testing Coordinator 

Francisco (Frankie) began his career with Step-Up, Inc. in February 2024, taking the position of outreach coordinator. Previously, Frankie worked at HealthNet in their medical records and administrative department. Frankie also has a love for makeup and worked as a senior artist at Sephora where he had the opportunity to work with Rihanna, Kat Von D, and other influential makeup artists. Outside of his professional career, Frankie has a passion for dancing. Frankie formed the group Raíces Folklore, a traditional Mexican folkloric dance group, who has performed at numerous multicultural events, private events, and at various universities around the state. Currently, his group has more than 10 dancers who also share a passion for dance. Frankie is very proud to be a part of the Step-Up, Inc. family and is excited to continue his professional growth with the agency.


Kevin Carson

Connections Plus Prevention Coordinator

Kevin Carson is originally from Gary, IN. During his free time, he enjoys hanging out with family and friends. Kevin also likes to cook, eat, and watch tv. His favorite color is lavender, and he loves Chinese food especially orange chicken from Panda Express. Kevin was in the military from 1997 to 2000. By being in the military during the times of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, he got passionate about the LGBTQ+ community thriving towards more success and putting a stop to all stereotypes against the community. Kevin hopes to strive in this MSM Cycle 2023.

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Kipp Morgan

Transgender Community Health Worker

Kipp Morgan started his career in community work promptly after graduating from Indiana Wellness College. With a license in Sports and Spa Massage Therapy, he tailored his practice to provide services to marginalized individuals in a safe and healing environment. In the beginning of 2023, Kipp Morgan Massage found an office to call home at Connected in Community. Through his experience as a transgender man of color, Kipp has often found himself helping clients, mutuals, and friends as an amateur gender affirming liaison. When he has spare time, Kipp enjoys writing scripts and performing on stage and screen. He also enjoys touching grass, dancing with his wife cuddling up with his Sphynx cat and Shiba Inu.

L. Johnson

Lakeyshia Johnson

Connect to Cure Testing Coordinator

Johnson graduated in the summer of 2008 from Brown Mackie College as a Certificate Medical Assistant. After graduating, she decided to begin another career as a Customer Service Representative in 2008 to 2013 where she liked to help people. In 2013 she began at Ally Bank where she quickly excelled to team lead and then the nighttime Operation Manager until 2018, while there she was able to learn how the banking and finance system works. After 10 years in Customer Service Johnson decided to try another career path as a receptionist for Rolls Royce from 2018 to 2021. In 2021 Johnson decided that it was time to start helping people directly, so she went to a Non-Profit Organization as an independent contractor for Harm Reduction where she enjoyed her work and helping people from 2021 to 2023. Johnson started working for an organization to start helping people more directly as a YTG Wellness Navigator in June of 2023. Johnson loves helping her clients directly with linkage to care as well as daily life skills to help them become the person they always dreamed to be. Johnson as of 2024 works as the Connect to Cure Testing Coordinator which she plans to retire from as she sees a future with this organization. 

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Matt seymour

NHBS Field Site Supervisor 

Matt started his time with Leap-In as an interviewer during the 2022 PWID cycle and is continuing his work as the Lead Interviewer during the 2023 MSM cycle. Since joining this project Matt has been involved with providing testing services all throughout Marion County. In his free time, he enjoys playing videogames, reading, and hanging out with his friends. His favorite color changes all the time but is currently blue, and his favorite thing to eat is a nice BBQ burger.


NHBS Program Manager 

Manuel (Manny) Gonzalez-Carrasco started his HIV services career in New Mexico as a Housing Non-Medical Case Worker. The position was temporary, but Manny fell in love with the work and the difference he was making in his community. In September 2020 Manny moved back to Indianapolis and continued his journey in the HIV field. In Spring of 2022, Manny transitioned into the NHBS Manager role and has managed the LEAP IN program since then. The program brought top numbers in it’s first year in Indiana. Manny hopes to continue to bring focus to social issues that include the Latinx/Ingenious, LGBTQ+, and the many other underserved communities in Indy.


Testing Manager

Michael has several years of experience in the customer service field and is great at creating a safe and comfortable space for someone to obtain testing services. He has been certified by both Red Cross and Indiana State Department of Health as a HIV/AIDS instructor, counselor, tester.  Michael has been with Step-Up since 2013.

Rachel Biddle

Connections Plus Program Manager

Rachel Biddle studied Community Health at IUPUI, graduating in 2021. She found a love for this work through Dr. Carrie Foote’s AIDS in Society course. She thought AmeriCorps would be a great next step in her journey. She is so happy to be at Step-Up! Rachel loves spending time with her girlfriend, her niece, and relaxing.


Education & Outreach Coordinator

Sylvia Thomas has been at Step Up since May 2018. She graduated with her Bachelors Degree in U.S. History in 2018. In her career, while working with people living with HIV/AIDS, Sylvia has also had experience in working in grassroots movements and in international diplomacy for Transgender Rights, Racial Justice, and Sex Work populations. While not working, she enjoys travelling, performing spoken word, and visiting local LGBTQIA+ establishments.

Re-Entry Services

Chad Williams

Reentry Community Health Worker

Chad Williams is honored to be a part of the Step-Up Team as the Reentry Community Health Worker.  Born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana and graduating from Kentucky State University with a bachelor’s in arts, specializing in Public Administration and Vocal Performance, I have a passion for being a voice for the unheard and beauty for the arts. I enjoy fulfilling my duties as a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. and embodying our motto, “Culture for service and service for humanity.” In my leisure time, I enjoy performing and singing in various arenas, working out at the gym, and being a dog dad.

Emily L

Emily Leffew

HepLink Care Coordinator 

Emily joined Step-Up in January 2024 as a Practicum Student and a Heplink Care Coordinator in March 2024. Emily will graduate with her bachelor’s in social work with a minor in Spanish in May 2024. Prior to working at Step Up, she volunteered at Recovery Cafe Muncie and Second Harvest Food Bank.  She is excited to get started in the field with Step Up! Emily is always listening to music and in her free time she enjoys hiking, spending time with friends, and live music. 


Forensic Care Coordinator

J. Johnson serves as a Forensic Care Coordinator, offering person-centered, community-based services to individuals with criminal justice involvment. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y, Mr. Johnson is a combat veteran of the U.S. Army. During his military career he traveled extensively both domestically and abroad, residing in Europe for ten years. During his career he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from the University of Maryland. After his civilian career which included over twenty years of both corporate and entrepreneurial experience, Mr. Johnson now focuses his energies on social service as exemplified through his personal motto “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

Jessica Beyer (002)

Jessica beyer

PEP Program Manager

Jessica is excited to work with Step-Up! She began working with the Indiana Peer Education Program, INPEP, and Step-Up while incarcerated in Indiana Department of Correction in 2019. Upon her release from IDOC, Jessica knew she wanted to help others and continue her journey to help others with criminal justice involvement. Jessica wants others to feel how she felt during  her time in INPEP – not judged or belittled, but part of a team and fully accepted. In her free time, she enjoys goofing around with her son and taking mini vacations to explore with her husband. She also enjoys training dogs and cooking! 

Kris Roehling

HepLink Program Coordinator  

Kris is a graduate of Rollins College with a BS in Psychology. She has decades of experience as a Recovery Coach, Community Health Worker, and Human Rights Advocate. Kris joined the staff of Step-Up in March of 2020 as the HepLink Care Coordinator and now serves as the HepLink Team Lead to ensure that people in Central Indiana gain access to treatment and get the cure for Hep C.  Kris is passionate about evidence-based, integrated, person-centered models of care including syringe access, SBIRT, Motivational Interviewing, overdose reversal, harm reduction and housing first models of care.

Ladessa Photo

Ladessa Sparks

PEP Program Specialist 

Ladessa is currently enrolled at Strayer University working on her associates degree in
Business Administration. Ladessa joined INPEP in March of 2022 during her
incarceration with the Indiana Department of Corrections. Ladessa joined the
program to help educate her fellow peers about important health topics and harm
reduction. She instantly fell in love with the program and all the organization
had to offer. Upon her release she was hired as a PEP Program Specialist. In
her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, mountain bike riding, watching
football, and reading a good book.  

Lorenzo Bell

LORenzo Bell

PEP Program Specialist 

Lorenzo joined INPEP in August of 2019 while incarcerated at the Indiana Department of Corrections. He has restarted his journey with Step-Up after a short break to further his education. During this time, he obtained his Certification in Peer Recovery Coaching.  He has joined the team as a PEP Program Specialist. Lorenzo is passionate about inspiring, educating, and being a resource for incarcerated individuals, during and after their incarceration. In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, working out, and spending time with his family.


Talesa Howell

HepLink Care Coordinator

Talesa Howell began her role as a HepLink Care Coordinator in April of 2024. Prior to her time with Step-Up, Inc. Talesa served as the Webmaster and Program Manager for Indiana Department of Correction. Her hard work and dedication has been recognized as a 2020 Award Recipient for TechPoint Mira awards for Community Impact through IDOC, a 2021 NCIA Keynote panelist/speaker, and the 2022 Commissioners Rising Star. Talesa looks forward to graduation with an associates in applied sciences with studies in biotechnology this May. She believes it to be a great honor to be among so many talented individuals with one purpose, to bring hope, encouragement, and education. Talesa volunteers her time serving at-risk youth in her community, and loves to laugh, dance, play frisbee, roller-skate, and hopes to own a Sphynx one day.

Tommy Chittenden

PEP Engagement Specialist

Tommy, originally from Florida, pursued Youth Ministry at Atlanta Christian College in 1970 before settling in Plainfield, Indiana, in 1977. Apart from a brief stint in Seattle, WA, he’s been rooted in Indiana ever since. With two sons and a growing family, Tommy’s life revolves around his grandchildren’s sporting events.

Transitioning from youth ministry to a 25-year career in the Travel Industry, Tommy later served in AmeriCorps at Step-Up, ultimately becoming the Director of Reentry. Tommy built the foundation for the program that exists today. After semi-retirement, he worked in various prevention-focused roles until returning to Step-Up in January 2024. As the PEP Engagement Specialist, Tommy works with Peer Education Program graduates on the threshold of re-entry to community and family life……and it is good to be “back home.” 


Board of Directors

Eric David, Board Chair
Rich farmer
marissa miller
John Randolph, VIce chair and secretary
paula french
bryn jackson
Jon Markee, Treasurer

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